Edmonton adopts new snow-clearing plan

Snow plows will stay in Edmonton residential neighbourhoods once they start blading, even if another major snowfall hits, under the city's new snowclearing policy.
Edmonton city councillors approved a new snow removal policy Tuesday. (CBC)

Snow plows will stay in Edmonton residential neighbourhoods once they start blading, even if another major snowfall hits, states the city's new snow-clearing policy.

"We will dedicate equipment to make sure we get through those residentials in five days," said city transportation manager Brice Stephenson."

Last year plows were pulled from neighbourhoods once snow began falling to clear major roads again.  

The plan is still to maintain a five-centimetre snow pack on the residential roads, unless drivers are finding them too difficult to navigate.

Then all streets will be plowed down to bare pavement.

Cars get 8 hours to move off bus routes

The policy bans vehicles from parking on bus routes after a snowfall of three centimetres or more.

Residents will be given eight hours notice to move their vehicles, said roadway maintenance director Bob Dunford.

"If we are going to start plowing operations at midnight the goal is to advise people by one in the afternoon," he said.

"We can get it out early enough that you can hear about it on your way home from work, you can see on the evening news, even looking at digitial-message signs placed in some key locations, so that you can see that parking ban is in effect as you are on your way home."

The parking ban would be lifted once the roads are clear.

Councillors feeling budget pressure

The improved snow removal policy will put more pressure on councillors who are looking to slice the city budget by $20 million. 

City council voted Tuesday against a number of fee changes, so will will have to look elsewhere for room to save the money.

That could mean big cuts to services or higher taxes, said Coun.Don Iveson.

"We've been asking (administration) to find efficiencies since the 90s," he said. "It stands to reason that at a certain point you run out of those things to do, short of going after your unions or cutting service levels or doing something like that."

"I think we may be getting close to that point where any further cuts are going to mean changes in services that citizens tell me they want."

Councillors will be going through progams line-by-line to decide on what should stay and what can go, said Iveson.